Interlude: end of Q2 (year 3!) at the Masthead!

Monday, July 15, marked the halfway point in the Masthead’s third year of book reviews…a slow quarter, but nonfiction does that to me (that, and giving much more of my time to newspaper journalism)! Still writing, still reading, still fascinated by Rockefeller. And, unrelated, far too excited about the 50th anniversary of the moon landing!

But back to the books: Here’s a looksie at the past three months and a good prayer the next three will bring a few more than two!

Books reviewed:¬†2 (I am a little ashamed ūüė≥)
Translated fiction: 1 (from Ukrainian)
New-to-me authors: 1 (Andrey Kurkov)
Oldest AND newest book: both Grace and Penguin were published in 1996
Longest book: Atwood’s Alias Grace¬†(567 pages)
Shortest book: Kurkov’s Death and the Penguin¬†(228 pages)

Death and the Penguin, Andrey Kurkov
Kurkov’s novel of post-Soviet Ukraine is of a feeling that might usually be thought impossible: a schizoid optimism.

Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood
Atwood’s double murder mystery is taken from history, but her story of Grace Marks missed the mark.¬†Grace makes for okay reading but only if you’re not aware of what this woman can do.

‚ô†

Browse the Review Archive
2019 mini reviews:
Quarter 1
2018 mini reviews:
Quarter 1
Quarter 2
Quarter 3
Quarter 4
2017 mini reviews:
Quarter 1
Quarter 2
Quarter 3
Quarter 4

 

Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace

For an author known to upend the conventional to suit her purpose, Margaret Atwood missed the mark with Alias Grace. History called the shots in this one, and perhaps such a restraint proved too large a hurdle.

Alias GraceAlias Grace · Margaret Atwood · 1996
Emblem, 2014 · 567 pages, paperback

‚ô†

The 1843 murder of the gentleman Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper mistress Nancy Montgomery is lifted from the historical record, along with the characters of Grace Marks, the titular murderess, and James McDermott, her alleged co-conspirator.

Ripe and festering with a young girl’s maligned reputation, shifting identities, lunacy and crime, the Kinnear-Montgomery double murder should have been putty in the hands of Atwood, normally a convincing author as well as temptress to the imagination and one who has tricks for curling the corners of her sentences into sly little images…but putty it proved not to be. Continue reading